Defensive midfield should be one of Manchester United’s top priorities this summer.
But with a big money move for winger Jadon Sancho in the pipeline, plus targets at right-back and central defence (The Athletic) it’s unclear quite how a midfield move fits into United’s plans at this stage.
It’s clear a move for Declan Rice would be too expensive, so United need to look at alternatives.
Last week we ran the rule over Sporting midfielder Joao Palhinha as an option United should consider. Now it is time to take a look at another option who will be starring at Euro 2020, Marcelo Brozovic.
Why would United want him?
Brozovic is a player of proven quality, winning the Serie A title this year with Inter Milan.
He has also starred in a World Cup final for Croatia, and will be going up against England at Euro 2020 this coming weekend.
Brozovic is the key midfielder who helps Inter’s midfield function, and he would be an excellent partner for Paul Pogba, and ease the dependence on the duo of Fred and Scott McTominay.
He is a player with a good passing range, providing six assists this past season, the fourth highest in the Inter side.
What is interesting about this is Inter’s current financial issues. The Serie A champions still owe Manchester United money from the Romelu Lukaku deal, The Mail reported in March.
United could potentially try and strike a deal for Brozovic out of the fee owed from Inter, if the club wanted to get creative. This would free up the rest of the budge to be spent in other positions.
Where would he fit?
Brozovic is at his peak at 28, and is five years younger than Nemanja Matic.
He may not be a long term answer, but he would be an upgrade on Matic who looks to be past it.
Brozovic could come and help United immediately, as opposed to a younger player who might take some time to get up to speed, or who might never reach the level required.
The Croatian featured in 33 of 38 Serie A games last season and is a player Inter can rely on. Last season Nemanja Matic turned into an afterthought for United, and Brozovic would be an instant upgrade, who is younger and better.
The biggest plus points…
Brozovic’s experience gained across his career works as a big selling point, as does his readiness to make an immediate impact.
He is full of confidence after a strong season and United could use a player like this, a winner.
Brozovic is strong in possession, completing 89 per cent of his passes in Serie A, while FB Ref report he made the seventh highest number of touches in the division all season.
FB Ref place Brozovic among the top 10 per cent of midfield players in Europe’s top five leagues for ‘progressive passes, and the top nine per cent for ‘goal creating actions’.
Brozovic is a holding midfielder with a touch of Michael Carrick to his game, a player who can pass and start attacks from deep, something Fred and McTominay struggle with.
Getting in a good midfielder who can contribute right away could convince Paul Pogba to stay, rather than signing a player who is more of a ‘project’ to play alongside him.
The biggest negative…
One of the big reasons against a move doubles up as one of the positives – his age.
There is a reason United were reported to be looking at Declan Rice, because the West Ham star could potentially solve the position for the next 10 years.
Brozovic would be a stop-gap signing, leaving United with more work later down the line.
This did not stop United moving for Edinson Cavani last summer, and Brozovic could be the missing piece United need in midfield, at least for the next three seasons.
At a moment in which United’s midfield plans are unclear, Brozovic would be a leftfield solution and a quick-fix. At this stage it would be smart to have an open mind.
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